In this post, I will go over some tips on how I upgraded the Vietnam Airlines flight I took recently.
In the world of awards and upgrades, there are so many ways you can enhance your travel experience to be more comfortable and luxurious. Today, I will explain the upgrade options and rules of Vietnam Airlines.
Cabin Upgrades on Vietnam Airlines:
There are three ways to upgrade a cabin on a Vietnam Airlines flight:
- Economy to Premium Economy (Applicable on Long-Haul Flights e.g. Europe, Australia)
- Premium Economy to Business Class (Applicable on Long-Haul Flights e.g. Europe, Australia)
- Economy to Business Class (Domestic or Intra-Asian Sectors)
Upgrade Options on Vietnam Airlines:
Vietnam Airlines offers two different methods to redeem seat upgrades.
But before I go further to upgrades, let me explain the traditional award booking method first.
Vietnam Airlines allows every Lotusmiles member to redeem the tickets with miles. The redemption rate seems to be quite fair whereas the domestic Vietnam and other Asian route starts from 12,000 ~ 35,000 miles and the long haul only requires 40,000 ~ 50,000 miles in one-way Economy Class.
But the mileage requirement spikes in Premium Economy and Business Class. It starts from 65,000 miles on PEY seats up to 110,000 miles on one-way Business Class. Remember this is for the regular season. You can expect up to 180,000 miles during peak seasaons.
You can check out the Award Chart below or here.
Upgrade Vietnam Airlines by Lotusmiles Miles:
Coming back to the two different upgrade options, you can use Vietnam Airlines Lotusmiles miles to get the next category of cabin. Here is a miles upgrade chart you can refer to get cabin upgrades. Based on the chart, the miles needed for cabin upgrade start from 3,000 miles for Domestic routes up to 90,000 for destinations in the US (One-way mileage requirements).
Take note that only Lotusmiles Titanium members and above can redeem miles for an upgrade. It is kind of weird Titanium is Vietnam Airlines’ second lowest tier. The tier goes from Silver-Titanium-Gold-Platinum respectively.
Earning Vietnam Airlines Lotusmiles Miles:
The only issue upgrading with miles is that Vietnam Airlines Lotusmiles program has no transfer partner outside Asia. I did some research on transfer partners but only Citibank Vietnam, HSBC Vietnam and local banks’ credit cards had the earning option.
So unless you frequently fly Vietnam Airlines and other Skyteam carriers and accrue tons of miles to the Lotusmiles program, it is very hard for foreigners to upgrade using miles. That’s where the paid upgrade offers come to boost your travel experience.
Paid Upgrade Offers on Vietnam Airlines:
If the above option can’t get you upgraded, don’t be disappointed. Similar to Qatar Airways’ upgrade offer, Vietnam Airlines also has this offer.
To check if you have the upgrade offer, first head to Vietnam Airlines website:
- And click the “Manage Booking” tab.
- Once you input your booking details and your reservation shows up, click the “upgrade my flight.”
- It will then redirect you to the upgrade offer page and show an available option for you.
- Choose your desired upgrade class and make a payment.
Once you make a payment for the upgrade, it might take around 20 minutes for the updated reservation to be reflected. If it still does not show after 20 minutes, give a call to Vietnam Airlines customer service so the representative can manually request the ticketing department to update the booking.
If your upgrade offer does not show up, be patient, because the upgrade offer will not be shown until a few hours before departure. Otherwise, the flight might be full in Business Class too.
Remember there are terms and conditions to get an upgrade offer.
Passengers who have booked the Economy Flex, Economy Classic, Premium Economy, Economy Lite can buy the upgrade by the following methods:
- Website or mobile app;
- Branch offices/ticket offices in Vietnam and foreign countries;
- Agencies in Vietnam;
- The last-minute ticket offices at domestic and international airports.
- An upgrade can be purchased within 24 hours before the estimated departure time. Especially for 5 routes (Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi – Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City – Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City – Phu Quoc, Ho Chi Minh City – Cam Ranh), upgrades can be purchased after tickets are issued.
So basically, you need to book the original ticket through Vietnam Airlines channels and not from third-party travel websites.
Also, the following services of the original ticket are applicable. This means the three services below are based on your original ticket fare.
- Business lounge;
- Baggage allowance;
- The frequent flyer mileage accrual.
For more information about the paid upgrade, check out Vietnam Airlines page.
While regular Business Class fare cost around US$800 one-way on Vietnam – Korea route, I managed to pay three times cheaper with the upgrade offer. Though these offers come with no lounge and extra baggage services, US$150 for a five-hour lie-flat seat is definitely a grab.
Vietnam Airlines opens upgrades most of the time when seats in the higher cabin class are available, so why not take the offer to have a more comfortable flight😉?